The Philadelphia Flyers need to develop a deeper roster in order to make a playoff push. But, how can they set that goal considering their current salary cap considerations?
According to Cap Geek, the Flyers have the least amount of financial flexibility in the National Hockey League. There’s plenty of time for general manager Paul Holmgren to plot strategy, as this shortened season’s trade deadline won’t take place until April 3.
One has to wonder how “Homer” will be able to make any significant moves without jettisoning at least one higher-salaried player from his roster along the way, or on that actual day?
Peter Laviolette needs another core defenseman. Unless a low-cost, impact blue liner can be secured, Holmgren is likely to be forced to deal a sizable salary. That type of move might need to involve multiple players and teams.
Unless Lord Stanley rises again, it’s hard to imagine why Claude Giroux ($3.75 million cap hit this year and next) would be dealt.
Scott Hartnell recently had his contract extended through 2018-19, so he’s highly unlikely to be sent away. Jakub Voracek leads the team in scoring and also signed a new deal this summer. Simon Gagne ($3.5 million, final year of his contract) was just acquired this week.
Brayden Schenn ($3.11 millon cap hit per year through next season) and Danny Briere ($6.5 million cap hit through 2014-15) are both candidates for departure. It would seem that Briere might be the more likely trade option, due to his age (35) and the fact that his salary is the highest on the team.
All of the other forwards make below $2 million. So, any substantial salary exchange would surely have to include a few forwards, or a forward and a defenseman in the same deal for a new defender.
Kimmo Timonen just agreed to an extension through next season.
Braydon Coburn has a cap hit of $4.5 million per year through the 2015-16 season. Working from the premise that Holmgren needs to upgrade his defense, trading Coburn, Andrej Meszaros ($4 million cap hit per year through next season), or Nicklas Grossmann ($3.5 million per year through 2015-16) only makes sense if another defenseman is received in exchange.
Luke Schenn is in his first Flyers’ year and looks to be a long-term part of this orange puzzle.
The only other player who is earning a lot of money is Ilya Bryzgalov ($5.66 million per year through 2019-20). While “Bryz” has been playing well, it’s certainly possible that he could be dealt. Any major shift in Philadelphia’s philosophy in this regard would cause another crease contender and a defenseman to subsequently arrive. More than one other team could be part of that type of dramatic change.
The Flyers’ front office will know if they have a legitimate Stanley Cup shot by mid-March. If that feeling exists some type of major deal(s) will be made, despite challenging money matters.